View Full Version : Mazers and hobby beekeeping?

David Baldwin
10-28-2005, 10:20 AM
I have been wondering how many mazers are hobby beekeepers, or would be if we knew how to go about it.

Any thoughts on a section devoted to the mazer/beekeeper?


10-28-2005, 05:11 PM
Beekeeping can be an expensive hobby to get started in, the equipment costs a bit and bees are getting harder to order. The worst thing about beekeeping is the mites which can wipe out a hive in two or three months. I would love to share the finer points of beekeeping with others much as the more experienced Mazers have helped me with the process of brewing mead. Hobby beekeeping is becoming a lost art, too much work for most people. Plus who in his right mind will admitt to owning beehives, it is outside the curve of being normal to most people. ;) Take the Path Less Ridden and See What Few People have Seen.

11-02-2005, 02:45 PM
I'm just waiting until I have the space. I've gotten a couple beekeeping books. Any books y'all recommend?


11-02-2005, 03:17 PM

Please do share. For starters:

How much do new hives cost?
How much (on average) does all of the equipment cost?
How much honey (based on location near a field with sufficient wildflowers) can you get from one hive in a season?
How large does this field need to be?
How much work is it? (daily, weekly etc)
How much (on average) does a 'swarm' of bees cost?

Anything else you can think of, please include it in your essay ;) and educate us.



11-03-2005, 05:35 PM
I (strongly) advise finding a local beekeeping club, and going to a few meetings before you take the plunge. Take some homebaked treats to the meetings, or a few bottles of mead - or better yet, both. You'll make the contacts you need, learn a ton, and may find great bargains on used gear. If there is a kinder, more patient group of hobbyists, I don't know what it is.

Contact your local extension agent. He/she will know where to find the beekeepers.


11-03-2005, 07:40 PM
I'm also going to have a section for that, and hope to entice the local beekeepers here in my area to do online articles and question and answer sessions. Anyone here who wants to contribute material, ideas, comments, suggestions, etc. are welcome. Please *send* them to me as well as posting here, so I am sure to see them, I can't always look at all the forum posts, especially when I'm in the middle of a project update.

11-04-2005, 02:59 AM
I'm a 2nd year hobbyist beekeeper. And its is kinda expensive. But very rewarding. I lost my first colony but moved on to buying a second colony and got my first harvest this year. 34lbs
I also gotten myself a job working part time through the summer working for a commercial beekeeper. What a wealth of knowledge. and a relationship I think will last for years.
As for cost you can buy starter kits for about a 100-150$ range that will give you your veil, hive tool, smoker and a brood chamber. But you will need another deep body and supers. Another 50-100$
And we haven't even got to extraction yet. Which will set you back a couple of hundred more dollars.
A good year with an established colony should get you about 100+ pounds of honey.
As for room I live in town, all the room you need is a place to put your hive up. The bees will travel up to 3 even 5 miles away to collect nectar.
Running just a few colonies dosen't take much work at all. Really all you need to visit the colony is about 6 times a year. I would suggest more if you are a begginer.The bulk of your work will be collecting and extracting your honey.
A swarm of bees will cost you about $70. That is my cost after shipping. A good idea is to buy a nuc from a local beekeeper. Which will probably cost about the same but you will get more bees and eggs and brood.
Ken's advice is a good point. My first year I was all on my own. This year I got lots of help from my employer. Plus I got to see the inside of about 400 colonies. So I could see bees in all states of health. It was a lot of help.

The books are a good start but they can really stress you out. You spend a lot of time wondering if all the terrible diseases you read about are happening to your bees. For the most part don't worry. The bees are pretty good at taking care of themselves. They do need help with the mite issues. The mites are a serious problem.
It is a very rewarding hobby. My goal next year is a total of 4 or 5 colonies. I have 2 currently. And hopefully 3to 4 hundred pounds of honey. These bees are gonna pay for themselves I swear.
www.Beesource.com is a great website. There are even plans to build just about everything you need If your are handy.
Hope this helps and didn't scare you off!

11-04-2005, 11:00 AM
Facscinating! I think I know what I'll be saving up for over the winter! I've got 4 acres in the woods, with a huges subdivision going in behind me, and country all around that for miles, so lots of opportunity for the bees.

OK, so, those of you that beekeep, how about giving me an overview of what you'd like to see here on GM for those getting started, and as resources for new and not-so-new folks keeping bees? I'd like to do my part to increase the endangered bee population here....

Vicky - seriously thinking about doing this, it would pay for itself in a year of honey

11-05-2005, 03:19 AM
4 acres of woods! You will collect a lot of propolis. That stuff is worth $6/lbs at the right time of year.
Beekeeping is a huge topic of its own. I read at forums just about beekeeping that have a single thread about meadmaking! I think it is to involved for gotmead. I think the best thing would be to work in conjuction with a site like Beesource.com Its a great site and reminds me of this site. I know others from gotmead post there too. And it would be a great chance to make some new mazers. I bought my first nuc from a beekeeper who had brewed some beer in the past but had never made mead!

Just my 2 cents

11-07-2005, 06:00 PM
Propolis, huh? Time to pick up a couple books so I know the right stupid questions to ask, LOL.

I'll checkout out Beesource, thanks for the tip!

Vicky - playing catchup after 2 days of shooting in Capron, VA

11-07-2005, 08:19 PM
Been away from the computer a couple of days, didn't mean to get things started and disappear. I was lucky with equipment because it was my dad's and after his death back in '91 I got everything. The first couple years was a learning experiance complete with being knocked out of a tree by a swarm I was trying to collect, it's a long story best told over a glass of mead. I didn't get any honey for three years, kept loosing hives in the winter. When I did finally get three hives going the mites hit and wiped them out in about two months, very dishearting. That was in '95 and it took me four years to get back into it. I have found that the less you mess with the bees the better, you can tell what is going on in the hive by watching the bees come and go. don't worry about having open fields in the apairy area, a lot of the honey comes from trees, when in Pennsylvania I was bringing in 5 to 7 gallons of honey a hive after the learning curve and was located in the middle of woods. I subscribe to Bee Culture, the magazine has a lot of suppliers and articles and is worth the $21.50 just as a resource. Thier web site is
www.BeeCulture.com .
If you are seriously thinking about beekeeping and need equipment most states have a bee inspector who might be able to help point you in the right direction for used hive bodies, they have a list of all the beekepers in the state and might know if anyone has extra equipment or bees. I would try to get the shallow supers fvor a hive instead of the standard deep super. The deep super can weigh over 100lbs when full of honey and can be a bit akward when wearing bee gear in the heat of the summer and getting dive bombed by upset bees. I've been using shallow supers for honey even though the cost is higher just for convience and my back. I would recomend ABC-XYZ of BeeKeeping, an excellent book that covers almost everything, try to get the most recent edition cause it must be on it's fourth or fifth revision.
Hope this helps, I could go on all day about bees, without them we would have no mead. Perish the thought.